The excitement for the Games was pushed to a climax yesterday (Friday) in Tokyo as the Organising Committee for the 2020 Olympics celebrated the six-month countdown for the Opening Ceremony of the 32nd Olympiad.
The Japanese Capital will host the 2020 Olympic Games from July 24 to August 9 this year.
Olympic atmosphere is building throughout the city since the arrival of the Olympic Rings in Odaiba last week. Hundreds of spectators gathered at Odaiba, the popular high-tech entertainment hub on Tokyo Bay, to celebrate six months to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as glorious fireworks light up the skyline.
The excitement for the Games was pushed to a climax with the five-minutes long grand firework show and the lighting up of the Olympic Rings. The fireworks burst in the shape of five interlaced rings in the colours of red, blue and green, echoing the illuminated landmark of the Rainbow Bridge. The Olympic Rings will be on display off the shore of Odaiba Marine Park until August when the Olympic Games finish and will be replaced by the symbol of the Paralympic Games –the three “agitos”, states a Tokyo 2020 report.
“Besides the athletes, a large number of visitors will come to Japan. It’s our goal to fully introduce the charm of Japan and Tokyo to them, and to create an environment where the athletes can compete in high spirits,” said Yasuhiro Yamashita, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
Mitsunori Torihara, chairman of Japanese Paralympic Committee, called for continuous support for the success of the Games. “The word for the symbol of Paralympic Games, ‘agitos’, means ‘I move’. In a sense, the success of the Games will be a huge move driven by the joint efforts from all parties,” said Torihara.
Starting from 24 July, thousands of athletes will compete in a record 33 Olympic sports and 22 Paralympic sports. While the athletes are gearing up for the medals, spectators around the world compete for the hottest-selling tickets. In Japan, over 8.2 million people have registered for a Tokyo 2020 ID to participate in the ticket lottery.
Last year, a record of 3.1 million tickets were requested during the first ticket lottery for the Paralympic Games.
Preparations toward a successful Tokyo 2020 Games are also gaining momentum. The new Olympic Stadium was officially opened last December and hosted its first official sporting competition on New Year’s Day. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, all but one of the eight new permanent venues, including the venues for archery, rowing and canoe, are already complete. The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which is still under construction, is expected to be complete in February.
“With the Olympic year finally here, everything is coming together,” Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya commented. “We’ve spent the last seven years working toward this, and now with just six months to go we’re excited to see the pieces falling into place. From venues to volunteers to ticketing, preparations are exactly where we want them to be at the six-month mark.”